Posted: 02.08.21 at 09:00 by Valerie Munro, RTN vice chair
Valerie Munro, vice chair of Richmond Talking Newspaper
Mrs Pat Ingam, one of the founding members of the Borough’s talking newspaper, has recently died. She was one of the driving forces behind the talking newspaper - a unique form of local and community news in audio form for blind and partially sighted residents of the borough.
Currently, there are around 300 talking newspapers for visually impaired people throughout the UK. The very first one was established in Aberystwyth, Wales in 1970. However, it was not too long after that Pat Ingham, then a member of Richmond TocH branch, was persuaded by a fellow TocH colleague that the Borough should join the early adopters of this unique form of local and community news.
A small group was set up to raise funds for this new venture, and Pat Ingham became its inaugural administrator.
In a conversation celebrating RTN’s 40th Birthday in April 2019, Mrs Ingham said: "We recorded the very first programme on 21st April 1979, with four readers sitting round a table in the basement storeroom of MIND’s charity shop at 64 Sheen Road.
"We read articles out of the Richmond & Twickenham Times of that week. To start with there were about 30 listeners, but numbers quickly swelled as word got out.
"Social Services generously gave us 20 cassette players, and other listeners were able to use their own equipment."
Since then, a lot has changed for RTN, although much has remained the same.
For years, recordings were still made on a Friday night, the day on which the Richmond & Twickenham Times was published.
Four readers would meet up, sitting round a table in Twickenham’s United Reformed Church, reading and recording article by article.
During the pandemic, each reader began reading and recording emailed news scripts on a mobile phone, sitting the comfort of their favourite armchair at home.
Pat Ingham sadly died on 20th July, aged 90. RTN remains ever in her debt for her resilience and determination in getting our talking newspaper into being all those years ago.
Richmond Talking Newspaper remains a unique source of local and community news for blind and partially sighted residents of the Borough. The service free to the listener, and a USB player can be provided. More information can be found by visiting www.rtn.org.uk.
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